Badger Hair Vs. Synthetic Shaving Brush

Badger Hair Brush vs Synthetic Hair Brush

If you like to shave wet, you surely have used a straight razor and shaving brush together and know that choosing the right kind of brush is pivotal in achieving a superior lather. Although traditional brushes with natural hair have been the most popular for a long time, synthetic shaving brushes have become a strong competitor.

So, which of these two types of brushes gives you the perfect and the best lathering experience? Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner in wet shaving, join us as we compare the merits of using a natural or badger hair brush over a synthetic brush.

Types Of Shaving Brushes


Shaving Brush Types


A shaving brush is a specialized tool consisting of three main parts—handle, loft, and knots—that create a thick, foamy lather with shaving cream or soap.

  • Handle: Comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors and provides a comfortable grip during shaving.
  • Loft: Refers to the length of the bristles and determines their flexibility and reach on the face, affecting their levels of control and coverage.
  • Knots: Clusters of bristles attached to the handle and can be made from synthetic fibers or authentic badger hair, each offering unique characteristics for lathering.

There are so many online options and discussions about shaving brushes that it can be hard to know where to start.1 So, we will talk about the main differences between natural and synthetic shaving brushes. Here's what makes a natural shaving brush different from a synthetic one.

Natural Brushes: Badger Hair, Boar Hair, Horsehair

Natural shaving brushes often come from real badger hair, boar hair, and horsehair.2 Each type has different features that can make shaving more enjoyable. Here's what makes each brush different with regards to their water retention and softness:

  • Badger Hair Brushes: The favorite among wet shavers. They have soft bristles and are known for being of high quality. They have different grades, such as Best, Super, and Silvertip. Silvertip brushes, which come from the neck area of the badger,3 are thought to be the best because their bristles are extremely soft and luxurious.
  • Boar Hair Brushes: These are great for shaving because they can exfoliate and lift hair effectively. They are known for having stiffer bristles that give gentle exfoliation, making them best for people with dry skin. Also, boar hair brushes hold water well, ensuring the lather stays the same.
  • Horsehair Brushes: A rare type of brush that creates a good lather for a satisfying shave because they are a good mix of coarser boar hair and softer badger hair. They are a good middle ground because they are softer than boar hair but still have some exfoliating properties.

Synthetic Shaving Brushes

Synthetic shaving brushes are a modern alternative to traditional shaving brushes made of animal hair. They are made of man-made fibers, usually nylon or polyester, and are carefully designed to have qualities close to those of natural hair. Synthetic brushes can quickly create a rich lather comparable to a badger shaving brush and other natural brushes.


Pros And Cons Of Natural And Synthetic Brushes

Several factors come into play when choosing between natural and synthetic shaving brushes. From durability and maintenance to water retention, lathering capabilities, and manufacturing, let's explore the pros and cons of each option.

Natural Shaving Brush Pros:

  • Authentic feel and experience
  • Excellent water retention for a rich lather
  • Wide variety of options, such as badger hair grades
  • Can last for decades with proper care

Natural Shaving Brush Cons:

  • Thicker bristles, which might be irritating
  • May require more maintenance and drying time
  • Higher price range, especially for premium badger hair brushes
  • Limited availability of certain hair types, leading to higher demand and stock issues
  • Some people may have ethical concerns regarding animal products
  • Unpleasant smell due to chemicals used to remove natural animal hair scent

Synthetic Shaving Brush Pros:

  • Synthetic fibers don't have an animal smell
  • Softer than natural hair shaving brush
  • Quick drying and easy maintenance
  • More affordable compared to natural brushes
  • Suitable for individuals with animal allergies or ethical concerns
  • Wide range of designs and sizes available

Synthetic Shaving Brush Cons:

  • Different feel compared to natural brushes
  • Less water retention for lathering
  • Different weight or balance perception
Why Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush Is Better

So, Which Shaving Brush Is The Best?

The only advantage that pure badger hair brushes have is that the bristles are tougher. This lets you use the brush as an exfoliating brush because its bristles can sweep the area free of dead skin cells, leaving your skin clean and moisturized in preparation for shaving.

On the other hand, there are various benefits that synthetic brushes have over badger brushes. These are:

  • Protecting wildlife: Opting for a synthetic shaving brush helps preserve the badger population and prevents their extinction, promoting the well-being of local ecosystems.
  • Fast drying: Synthetic shaving brushes, being non-absorbent, dry quickly, making them convenient for travelers who need a brush that won't retain moisture in their luggage.
  • Economical choice: Synthetic shaving brushes offer a cost-effective alternative to badger brushes, providing a similar shaving experience without the higher price tag.
  • Luxurious lather: Synthetic bristles easily produce a rich and fine lather with minimal water and soap, ensuring a smooth and comfortable shaving experience.
  • Long-lasting durability: Synthetic shaving brushes are more resilient and resistant to damage, maintaining their shape and performance over time, unlike some badger brushes that can fray or develop mold.
  • Suitable for all skin types: The soft nylon bristles of synthetic brushes are gentle on the skin, making them an excellent choice for individuals with sensitive skin. They provide exfoliation without causing irritation.

The clear winner between synthetic and natural shaving brushes is synthetic shaving brushes, which are better than natural brushes in terms of durability, maintenance, water retention, and other key factors. With their practical advantages, synthetic brushes offer durable and odor-free bristles that are gentle on the skin. Their manufacturing process is thoughtfully designed to create synthetic fibers that replicate the water-retention properties of the finest natural bristles, ensuring exceptional lathering capabilities for an optimal shaving experience.

How To Use A Shaving Brush

Olive Wood Shaving BrushSynthetic shaving brushes offer durable and odor-free bristles that are gentle on the skin.

Now that you know which brush is best for your skin and lathering needs, it's time to learn how to use a shaving brush and take care of it. Whether you have a brush with synthetic fibers or natural hair bristles, proper usage and maintenance will ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Using A Shaving Brush With A Scuttle Or Bowl

  • Prepare warm water to facilitate lather formation.
  • Place the soap puck in the scuttle and bloom it with a small amount of warm water.
  • Wet the brush, load it with soap, and swirl it over the soap puck in circular motions.
  • Apply the warm lather evenly on the face, mapping the shaving areas.
  • Rinse the scuttle and brush after shaving, allowing the brush to dry on a stand.

Using A Shaving Brush With Soap Tin

Using A Shaving Brush With Soap TinOrganic shaving soaps has the right ratio of fat and glycerin, perfect for creating a thick lather.

  • Prepare the brush bristles by wetting them lightly.
  • Swirl the brush over the soap tin, adding a few drops of water if needed.
  • Load the brush with the thick lather and apply it in circular motions on the desired shaving areas.

You can read more about lathering shave soap for a comprehensive step-by-step guide.

Shaving Brush Maintenance

Proper care is essential to maintain your shaving brush's performance and longevity, whether it has natural hair or synthetic bristles.4

  • Natural Hair: To maintain your shaving brush, it's essential to rinse it after each use, avoid harsh chemicals and hot water, periodically wash it with mild shampoo or brush cleaner, and allow it to air dry by hanging it upside down or using a razor and brush stand.
  • Synthetic Bristles: To maintain a synthetic shaving brush, rinse it after each use and allow it to air dry, preferably on a brush stand. Clean it occasionally with mild soap or brush cleaner. Synthetic brushes may not require as much drying time as natural hair brushes.

Are There Any Benefits Of Using A Shaving Brush?

Are There Any Benefits Of Using A Shaving Brush?Shaving brushes ensure a thick lather, shielding the skin from shaving micro-abrasions.

Wet shaving with a shaving brush offers better results and takes care of your skin compared to dry shaving. The primary goal of a shaving brush is to ensure your face is well-lathered before shaving. Here's why you need a brush:

  • Consistent Lather: A shaving brush creates a more consistent lather faster and more evenly than using your hands alone.
  • Thicker Lather: Thicker lather hydrates and lubricates your skin follicles, allowing the razor to glide smoothly and effortlessly.
  • Saves Money: A good shaving brush lathers easily with less soap or cream, helping you save money in the long run.
  • Exfoliation: A shaving brush not only lathers but also exfoliates, removing dirt and dead skin for a cleaner and younger-looking face.

Using a synthetic shaving brush enhances your shaving experience, providing a luxurious feel and ensuring a clean and smooth shave, especially if you have thick beards that can cause ingrown hairs post-shave.

Consider Naked Armor's selection of shaving brushes, crafted with care and cruelty-free. Each of your purchases helps feed the hungry. Treat yourself and make a positive impact by clicking "Add to Cart" below.

More Naked Armor Reads

Beginner's Guide to Using a Shaving Brush
Shaving Scuttle Mug: What is It & How to Use One?
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wet and Dry Shaving


  1. Differentiating Between Badger and Synthetic? Badger and Blade.
  2. Boar Bristle vs Horse Hair Brush Question? Badger and Blade.
  3. Are Badgers Killed for Shaving Brushes? Clear Confidence.
  4. Aleczander. How To Maintain Your Shaving Brush: Dos And Don'ts. Badger and Blade.


  • P.ditri

    I recently purchased a tortoise shaving was fantastic…very hard to find though because tortoises have very few takes plenty of tortoises to make one brush

  • Naked Armor

    Hi Larry. You should look for one that has stiffer bristles so that you can lather soap in a mug or scuttle with more tension and consistency, which results in a thicker foam and better shave. Our shaving brushes would be good for that. Let me know if you need anything else!

  • Larry Arsenault

    I recently bought an inexpensive synthetic shaving brush and was quickly disappointed. Hardly produced any lather, even fusing Tayler of Old Bond St. My very old and cheap badger brush, missing half its hair produced a rich lather where the synthetic does not. Are there better synthetic brushes than others? What should I look for in a synthetic to get the lather this article and others, talk about?

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